ABOUT PJ Devlin
P. J. Devlin tells stories about relationships. Her characters meet at the intersection of acceptance and rejection and their choices impel them to understand what it means to be human. Whether writing of a witch, a dwarf, an elderly woman, white and black teenagers, or a black indentured servant, Devlin's characters exist in the Philadelphia of her birth and share her love of the Wissahickon Creek.
After a civilian career with the Fairfax County, VA Fire and Rescue Department, Devlin studied with Susan Shreve, Courtney Brkic and Alan Cheuse and received an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University.
Her short stories have been published in print and online.
WISSAHICKON SOULS, an historical novel set in the Philadelphia area in the early 19th century, is a story of love, regret and reconciliation. Claire Penniman, black and female, is an unlikely hero who rejects racial expectations. Claire's story fills a gap in American memory that marginalizes 19th century African American lives. Readers who love to enter a time and place where they walk alongside characters they get to know as friends will enjoy this novel. Though Claire's world defines a person by the color of his or her skin, Claire's destiny is to bear witness to the truth that illuminates the color of souls. In 2016, WISSAHICKON SOULS was named a BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARDS FINALIST.
BECOMING JONIKA tells the story of a teenager, Joni Byrnes, during the cultural revolution of 1968-1969. Peace, love and rock and roll clash with war, civil rights and alienation in this portal to that tumultuous time. Joni gets busted for selling pot, and is forced to face her demons and avoid juvenile detention by teaching swimming at a summer camp for black city kids. In 2018, BECOMING JONIKA WON FIRST PLACE for YOUNG ADULT HISTORIC FICTION BY CHANTICLEER REVIEWS, and the 2018 BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARD for YOUNG ADULT FICTION.
WISHES, SINS AND THE WISSAHICKON CREEK is a collection of short stories set on the outskirts of Philadelphia. These stories resonate with the power of recognition and remembrance. Devlin's characters may slip as they maneuver life's torments but their journeys through the unmapped terrains of their lives lead them to the refuge of acceptance and reconciliation. WISHES, SINS AND THE WISSAHICKON CREEK was named as as a finalist for the 12th Annual NATIONAL INDIE EXCELLENCE AWARDS for SHORT STORIES.
A native of Flourtown, PA, P. J. Devlin lives in Northern Virginia.